Around the holidays there’s always the desire to give as well as receive and so it always causes me to reflect and ask myself, “Have I given enough?” Like most birders we take care of our environment around us. We are careful to pick up trash we see that others have left behind and we are careful not to disrupt an area–for both the birds and other wildlife.

One time Steve and I did get the opportunity to give back. We were visiting the Oregon Coast and as we were walking along Cannon Beach one morning, Steve spotted a Pacific Loon that looked as though he was struggling. He was floundering around in the sand, but not able to fly, perhaps injured by the pounding surf.

Steve and an injured Pacific Loon

Coincidentally, we came upon a woman walking long the beach who also was curious about the injured loon. She was an elected town councilor for Cannon Beach and she called the Seaside Aquarium on her cell phone and explained the situation. They said to bring the loon to them if it was possible, so Steve and I volunteered to take the loon to the aquarium, which was about a 45 minute drive north.

I drove and Steve held Larry (that’s the name we gave him) in his lap. Poor Larry was frightened and even pooped all over Steve’s jeans. Steve remarked that the loon seemed embarrassed–or at least uncomfortable–by incident.

The aquarium was waiting for us when we arrived and Steve gently passed Larry on to one of the workers. It was weird driving away and leaving Larry. We’ll never know what happened to him, and it was a complete diversion from our day’s plans, but ultimately I know that we did what we felt we could do to help a struggling little creature. Some people give by donating to their local PBS station. Some might help in a soup kitchen. Others save their pocket change all year in a jar and hand it over to a homeless man who lives under a bridge at Christmas. Us? We once rescued Larry the Pacific Loon.